Hezbollah: Terrorists or 'Resilient Pragmatists'?
New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani may have sent heads spinning on Tuesday with a book review of Joshua Cooper Ramo's The Age of the Unthinkable. In summarizing Ramo's thesis, Kakutani constructs this strangely amoral universe:
Today's world, he suggests, requires resilient pragmatists who, like the most talented Silicon Valley venture capitalists on the one hand or the survival-minded leadership of Hezbollah on the other, possess both an intuitive ability to see problems in a larger context and a willingness to rejigger their organizations continually to grapple with ever-shifting challenges and circumstances.
Ramo, a former Time reporter, is declared "astute" by Kakutani for realizing the disastrous rigidity of Bush's war on Iraq:
Iraq, Mr. Ramo astutely notes, is a war that showcased all of America's most "maladaptive" tendencies. It was inaugurated on the premise of flawed idées fixes: that it would have "a clean, fast end" and would lead to a democratic regime that would transform the Middle East in a positive fashion. And the certainty of Bush administration officials not only led to incorrect assumptions (like the bet that "the 'ecosystem' of Iraq would settle into something stable that could be left to run itself") but also resulted in an ill-planned and rigid occupation that was "incapable of the speedy refiguring that life in a war zone" inevitably requires.
At least the book review did seem to suggest the war in Iraq is pretty much over, after the surge:
In this sand-pile world, a small group of terrorists armed with box cutters can inflict a terrible blow on a superpower - as Al Qaeda did on 9/11, just as bands of insurgents in Iraq managed to keep the mighty United States military at bay for three long years.